Magnificent scenery that has enchanted artists and travellers for centuries
Hiking on quiet mountain trails high above the lakes
Explore the winding shorelines dotted with ancient villages and exquisite villas
Walk along the ancient Roman road, the ‘Antica Strada Regina’ to Rezonnico
Explore the beautiful town of Menaggio, with fabulous views of Lake Como
Hiking in Lombardy: From Lake Como to Lake Lugano
The lakes of Northern Italy have been a popular holiday destination since Roman times and the region has continued to enchant visitors ever since. Artists and celebrities have long admired the evocative beauty of the sparkling blue expanses of water, hemmed in by steep hills with wooded peaks fading into the hazy distance. There is a real feel of jet-set glamour, with lavish villas and sumptuous gardens lining the shores.
“The hills, mountains and forests around Lake Como are traversed by miles of ancient mule tracks and footpaths that carried generations of peasants, traders, smugglers, and Roman legions on their way to conquering northern tribes.” The Telegraph
Mountain treks away from the tourist crowds
Away from the affluent holiday centres you will also discover a wealth of excellent hiking trails, exploring the forested valleys, mountain tops and traditional villages which have retained their unique character. Old mountain tracks, used by the locals for centuries, have been transformed into a series of way marked trails offering magnificent views of the lakes and the pastel-painted villages dotted along the shorelines. A particular highlight is the Antica Strada Regina, an old Roman road linking Menaggio to Rezzonico.
The lakeside villages are a delight, with many charming shops where you can buy locally made products. Food-lovers will also enjoy exploring the area’s unique flavours, with many renowned dishes naturally featuring fresh fish from the lakes.
|8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS||From €750 per person sharing*
*A high season supplement will apply during peak summer periods
|ACCOMMODATION||In very comfortable hotels on a bed & breakfast basis. All hotels are carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite.
The standard hotels of the trip are listed below. If a hotel is fully booked, then we will book a similar one for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
You can also book additional nights at either of the hotels.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October|
|OPTIONAL EXTRA||Upgrade to lake view room in Menaggio available. Please enquire for prices.|
|DIFFICULTY||This week-long hike offers a selection walks of varying lengths and difficulty. The walks are along well-trodden footpaths, forest trails, cobbled paths and short sections on small country lanes.|
Day 1: Arrival in Menaggio, Lake Como
Menaggio is located on the western shore of Lake Como, in a strategic position between Como and Lugano. After checking in at your hotel, you have the rest of the day to explore this elegant and peaceful lakeside town. Over the next few days, you will also have the opportunity to use the excellent local boat service to explore some of the other delightful small towns on either side of Lake Como. The beautiful gardens of Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo and Villa Melzi in Bellagio are not to be missed!
Day 2: Walk from Varenna to Dervio
Distance: 12.4 km | Ascent: 937 m | Descent: 924 m | 5 hrs approx.
Your first day’s walking is an easy lakeside stroll. After breakfast take the boat that crosses the lake to Varenna, one of the most picturesque of Lake Como’s villages. Following the East side of the lake, take the “Sentiero del Viandante” (the Wayfarer’s Path) and discover a rich and ancient cultural landscape with traditional architecture and outstanding views of the lake and its surrounding mountains.
Just above Varenna, make a short detour to visit the castle in Vezio. It’s worth it!
Return to Menaggio by boat.
Day 3: Choice of walks
WALK A: Val Sanagra Nature Reserve
Distance: 14.4 km | Ascent: 696 m | Descent: 695 m | 5 hrs approx.
A loop walk starting in Menaggio takes you to the Val Sanagra, an undiscovered area rich in history and heritage. Leaving Menaggio, you pass first through the villas of the noble village of Loveno. You will follow the Sanagra stream, crossing ancient stone bridges as you ascend into the narrowing gorge. You will pass several ancient mills and iron foundries, as well as ancient hamlets where time appears to have stood still for centuries. As you reach Monti Madri you are rewarded with panoramic views over the valley and the wooded peaks beyond.
WALK B – Esino Lario to Rifugio Bietti and Buzzi
Distance: 20 km | Ascent: 1,144 m | Descent: 324 m | 6 hrs approx.
Take the ferry from Menaggio to Varenna from where you take a local bus or a taxi to the start of the walk in Esino Lario, a small town high in the mountain above Lake Como. You will enjoy gorgeous panoramas as you follow the well-marked trail through the Regional Park of the Northern Grigna (Grigna Settentrionale). The Grigna is part of a mountain massif rising up from the eastern branch of Lake Como and extending from the towns of Lecco to Bellano. The area is characterised by steep and rugged calcareous rock formations which are reminiscent of the Italian Dolomites.
A highlight of this itinerary is the striking “Porta di Prada”, a large arc shaped rock formation with a cross located in its centre. This is a great spot to take a break and capture some spectacular photographs.
WALK C – Breglia loop via Monte Grona and Monte Bregagnino
Distance: 6.5/9 km | Ascent: 633/850 m | Descent: 633/752 m | 3½/5 hrs approx.
This walk starts in Breglia, a small village above Menaggio reachable by bus.
The route takes in two of the most significant peaks of the western side of the Lake: Monte Grona and Monte Bregagnino. From the top of Monte Grona (1,736m) you have one of the best views of the Pre Alps; from here you can see the three lakes (Como, Lugano and Piano), and the peaks of Monte Bregagno, Legnone, Pizzo di Gino and Grigna.
The route passes Rifugio Menaggio, one of the most famous mountain huts in the area, situated on a natural terrace from where you have an exceptional view on the south side of Lake Como.
There are three different ways to get to the top of the Monte Grona from the Rifugio Menaggio, including an alpine ascent using the “via ferrata”.
Day 4: Choice of walks
Today you have the chance to do a second walk from the list above.
Day 5: From Menaggio to Rezzonico on the Antica Strada Regina
Distance: 9 km | Ascent: 530 m | Descent: 493 m | 3 hrs approx.
The Antica Strada Regina, built during the late period of the Roman Empire, was an important road connection along the west side of the lake, linking Como to the alpine passes. The old trail was used up until the late 18th century, when the current lake road was built.
This well-preserved stretch of the antique road starts at Menaggio and runs along cobblestone paths that lead you through ancient villages and olive groves just far enough above the lake to ensure tranquility and, of course, splendid lake views. The trail ends in the characteristic village of Rezzonico, with its castle and 14th century tower.
After the walk return to Menaggio by local bus.
Day 6: Walk from Cavargna to Porlezza
Distance: 16.5 km | Ascent: 698 m | Descent: 1,502 m | 5 hrs approx.
A morning private transfer takes you to the hill top village of Cavargna from where a spectacular climb takes you to the Church of Saint Lucio, right on the border between Italy and Switzerland. You pass through the typical mountain hamlet of Monti, before descending to Molzano with stunning views over both Lake Como and Lake Lugano.
A superbly panoramic footpath leads you through woods and meadows, descending 1550 m to Porlezza, situated at the northeast end of Lake Lugano and very close to the Swiss border. This rural farmland and forest walk with imposing views is one of the area’s highlights.
Day 7: Walk from Porlezza to San Mamete via Alpe Vecchio
Distance: 11 km | Ascent: 1,100 m | Descent: 1,100 m | 5 hrs approx.
Today’s optional walk takes you to the mountains above Lugano lake; a beautiful terrain of forest, waterfalls and tiny villages. The start is quite challenging, as you are climbing up the steep side of the mountain. Once you make it to the Alpe Vecchio, however, you can relax and admire the views from the beautiful mountain hut on the high plateau. You then descend through forest paths to the village of San Mamete. Here you take the bus back to Porlezza.
Day 8: Arrivederci Porlezza!
Your trip and our services come to an end after breakfast.
Getting to Menaggio
Departure from Porlezza
|On departure from Porlezza, you always have to change either in Menaggio or in Lugano to reach Milano or Bergamo aiports.|
|We will send you a pre-departure information pack, which contains detailed public transport information.|